Chinese tech giant Tencent plans $5 billion bond sale: sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd is returning to the market with a U.S. dollar bond that could raise about $5 billion, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

A Tencent sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

The social media and gaming giant launched the sale on Wednesday of five-year, seven-year, 10-year and 30-year dollar bonds, showed a term sheet seen by Reuters.

The term sheet did not detail the amount Tencent is looking to raise.

The bond sale could be Asia’s largest so far this year, Refinitiv data showed, exceeding property developer China Evergrande Group’s $2.8 billion sale in January.

Tencent last tapped the bond market in January last year, raising $5 billion.

The bonds were being marketed with indicative interest rates of 115, 140, 165 and 185 basis points (bps) over U.S. Treasuries for the five-year, seven-year, 10-year and 30-year tranches, respectively, the term sheet showed.

Tencent has a $6 billion offshore issuance quota from China’s state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the people said, declining to be identified as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Proceeds from the sale will be used for refinancing and general corporate purposes, the term sheet showed.

Tencent said in an exchange filing on Monday it had increased its Global Medium Term Note Programme limit to $20 billion from $10 billion and that it planned to conduct an “international offering”, without specifying a size.

Asked for comment on Tuesday regarding the size of the sale, Tencent said it does not comment on market speculation.

The company has hired Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as joint global coordinators for sale, Tencent said in Monday’s exchange filing.

Tencent suffered a rough 2018, as a nine-month hiatus in approving games for monetization in China prevented it from capitalizing on some of its most popular games.

Its net profit for the last quarter of 2018 dropped 32 percent, the steepest decline since Tencent went public in 2004, to 14.2 billion yuan ($2.11 billion), in part due to one-off losses at portfolio companies.

Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Additional reporting by Julie Zhu; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christopher Cushing